Rangers at Lightning

The second meeting of the season between the Rangers and the Lightning takes place this Thursday at Amalie Arena in hopes of better results and less injuries. The first match up took place in New York when the Bolts hit the road for their 2nd road trip. The game didn’t pan out in favor of the Lightning who have struggled to strike consistency in their lines and are at a low percentage in PKs this season after being one of the top teams in the league last season. In press conferences, you can see the frustration from coach Cooper when last season is brought up. The team is dealing with different circumstances this year and continuing to switch up the lines to see what will work out.
When the team got to Sweden, players mentioned that time being an opportunity to reset and refocus. In addition to the ability to reset, the team said that the experience as a whole gave them a chance to bond further as teammates. Mathieu Joseph said, “when you like your teammates you are more willing to sacrifice for them, which helps”. Well Joseph and the guys were on to something because a new focus and respect showed on the ice versus the 9-4-2 Buffalo Sabres as the Bolts closed out the series with back to back victories.
Kucherov got on the board again for the 2nd time since his scoreless 6-game streak. Hedman was in a euphoric state playing in his country and it showed in his game. Although the lines appeared to work in Sweden, more changes came Monday morning. Alex Volkov, whom ended up replacing Luke Witkowski before the NHL Global Series got sent back to Syracuse, which now leaves question as to who will possibly be pulled up to the Bolts roster this week versus the Rangers? The Rangers are beatable and with the talent the Lightning have regardless of their record, they should be capable of taking this win. Although Saturday’s lines appeared to perform well together, the practice lines have shifted. As of yesterday morning, the lines were:
Joseph-Johnson-Stamkos
Palat-Point-Kucherov
Killorn-Cirelli-Gourde
Maroon-Paquette-Verhaeghe
Hedman-Shattenkirk
McDonagh-Cernak
Sergachev-Schenn
Coburn-Rutta
Both the Rangers and the Lightning are 3-2 in their last 5 games, the Bolts’ average of goals allowed per game is at 3.47 in comparison to the Rangers’ 3.25 average, which speaks to the special team issues the Lightning have been having, but if they carry the momentum they found in Sweden into tonight’s match-up, the game should be theirs for the taking. Puck drops at 7pm tonight, stay tuned with Florida National News for more Tampa Bay Lightning updates!

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